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Valery Gergiev continues his Shostakovich symphony cycle with the release of the Eighth Symphony. Considering the fact that Gergiev conducts more Shostakovich than any other conductor in the world, he can certainly claim to be in authority on this repertoire. Shostakovich’s Eighth Symphony is imbued with a deep sense of sorrow and fear, and is considered to be one of the composer’s finest scores. The authorities expected a victorious anthem in light of the Nazi retreat, but Shostakovich appeared too affected by the casualties and ruin of the war to produce a celebratory composition.

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